Monday, 15 October 2012

Making sure assets realise best value - for everyone

ARGYLL and Bute Council has taken steps to create a clearer process for transferring local authority assets to third sector groups and support their valuable contribution to communities. Councillors met on Thursday 20 September to consider the Draft Third Sector Asset Transfer Arrangements relating to the local authority’s property assets. These properties are held by the council as resources to be used in the delivery of services. However, the council also recognises that it has a significant role to play in supporting the development of the third sector and its provision of services in the community. This means that, when it is possible, transfer of some council assets to third sector groups can help to empower communities as well as ultimately achieving better value for money for both the local authority and the wider community. Now the council has developed the Draft Third Sector Asset Transfer Arrangements, working in consultation with partners in the third sector, to establish an appropriate process to make this more effective. This will provide a fair and formal framework to follow when considering the transfer of assets. It will also identify and assess the ability of groups to sustain a building or piece of land on an ongoing basis. The process is also designed to highlight any wider community benefits that could result from a possible asset transfer. An assessment panel has been established to oversee the transfer process, with the support of additional officers who may be able to provide specialist knowledge or expertise as required. Speaking after councillors voted to approve the draft arrangements, lead councillor for communities and culture Louise Glen-Lee said: “Third sector groups are very important to our communities and when we link their work with making the best use of existing assets, a real difference can be made to community life. “These new arrangements will demonstrate our commitment and determination to ensuring that there is a robust and transparent process in place to help make the best decisions about council property and how it might be used to benefit people in our area.”